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Today, I will post twice as to achieve the number one tech tool to assist an elementary music educator by January 1, 2018. Though this is a list of ten items, it is by no way, a top ten list. These are ten tech items that I have used successfully in preparation for a concert. There are other great tools out there and if you are a middle school music teacher, I encourage you to check out Dr. Christopher J. Russell’s blog posts about Ten (iOS) Tech Tools to Help a Secondary Music Educator Prepare for a Concert.
iTunes Remote App
The iTunes Remote App by Apple has been a great tool for me to use during concert rehearsals. For our concerts, we are fortunate enough to be able to hire musicians to accompany our concerts. However, we have rehearsals before the musicians can attend. When we have those rehearsals, we would like to have the accompaniment. This is where the iTunes Remote App is so helpful.
Using iTunes, I upload the accompaniment tracks to a playlist. These accompaniment tracks are either provided with the song or we record them for rehearsal purposes using Soundtrap (check out #9 on this list). This year’s was titled, Holiday 2017. Using the iTunes Remote App, I sync the app with the playlist. I then plug my laptop into speakers and use my iPad or iPhone with the iTunes Remote app to control the music. This way, I can move around the rehearsal and not be tied to the laptop with speakers. I could ask someone to run the laptop, however, if I have a teacher that can do that, I would rather use the teacher to assist with watching the students and assisting them to stay focused. If I have a student that could run the laptop, I would rather have that student sing if that is possible.
- When you launch the app, you will see a screen that has the iTunes icon grayed out.
- Click “Settings” and click “Pair iTunes Remote”.
- It will give you a four-digit passcode to input into your laptop’s iTunes.
- In iTunes, look for the new icon that has just appeared (you can see it here next to “music” and it is a play button in a box).
- Click on the icon and input the four-digit passcode.
- Click OK.
- On your iPad’s Remote App, your playlists will now appear.
iTunes Remote App is also available for the Apple Watch. You can sync it the same way you do the iPad or iPhone. The disadvantages are that the network can drop easily and you cannot see the playlist, only the name of the song. However, if the wrong track is being played during a concert, your watch can be the fastest way to stop the track.
Equivalents for Other Devices
I have not used these. I have found them through research:
- Spotify Connect – Connect Spotify through numerous devices.
- Remote for GPMDP – A beautiful remote app for controlling your Google Play Music Desktop Player. Have complete control of your player from the comfort of your couch.
- Retune – Retune is an iTunes remote, it allows you to use your Android device to control iTunes! Use your Android device to change songs, TV shows, movies from anywhere in your home!
Later on this evening, I will post #7. On the final day, there will be a webinar that you can view to see these tools in action with more in-depth explanations.
Amy M. Burns is an elementary music educator, clinician, author, and musician. She currently works at Far Hills Country Day School in Far Hills, NJ teaching PreK through Grade 3 general music, grade 5 instrumental music, and grades 4-8 instrumental band. She is the author of Technology Integration in the Elementary Music Classroom, Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with a SMART Board, and Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with One or more iPads! She is also an author for Online Learning Exchange™ Interactive Music powered by Silver Burdett. She has given numerous presentations on integrating technology into the elementary music classroom as well as being a keynote speaker for music technology conferences in Texas, Indiana, St. Maarten, and Australia. She is the recipient of the 2005 TI:ME Teacher of the Year Award, the 2016 NJ Master Music Teacher Award, the 2016 NJ Governor’s Leader in Arts Education Award, and the 2017 Non-Public School Teacher of the Year Award. You can find out more about Amy at her website: amymburns.com